Airbnb fights back after opponents circulate fake news

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Opponents and those competing with Airbnb are hotels, resorts, and community activists. Are these opponents now in the business of producing fake news, fake videos, and fake press releases? Obviously, these opponents want to stop Airbnb from doing business in cities around the United States.

eTN was one of the media targeted with authentic looking “fake news” yesterday.

eTN Publisher Juergen Steinmetz explained: “After eTN was unable to reach Airbnb, some of the news tips received were published by eTurboNews. After talking to Airbnb spokesperson Mattie Zazueta today, we believe our article was based on fake news and a fake video maliciously circulated by Airbnb opponents. On behalf of eTurboNews, we apologize for not having caught this in time.”

The video received claimed Airbnb’s own CEO, Brian Chesky, had admitted to the “negative impact” of vacation rentals in Los Angeles and was supporting limiting short-term rentals to primary residents only with caps to prevent taking homes off the market in cities with a housing constraint. The facts are actually very different.

Click to read yesterday’s article on eTurboNews:

Airbnb released the following statement yesterday after the Los Angeles City Council voted on an ordinance that legalizes home sharing and instructs the Planning & Land Use Management Committee to develop a separate ordinance that would bring the city’s vacation rental industry out of the shadows:

“Today the City Council voted to legalize homesharing in LA, providing thousands of Angelenos a way to earn critical income to make ends meet, and launched a pathway to regulate the city’s longstanding vacation rental market with sensible guardrails to protect housing. This is a big step in the right direction and we remain committed to working with the city to develop comprehensive, enforceable rules that are a model for cities around the world,” said John Choi, Airbnb Public Policy Manager.

Homesharing and vacation rentals play a critical role in allowing Angelenos to directly benefit from the more than 48 million visitors who travel to Los Angeles every year. The more than 1.6 million visitors that the Airbnb community welcomes help infuse LA with an additional $1.4 billion in local economic activity. Homesharing also directly benefits the City’s revenue – in just under two years since signing a tax collection agreement with the City, Airbnb has collected and remitted more than $100 million in taxes to help fund key city services like police and fire.

The city needs a comprehensive short-term rental policy that regulates all short-term rental activity, including its long standing vacation rental market. Airbnb will continue to work with the city to enact rules that preserve the economic benefits of short-term rentals for residents, while minimizing concerns regarding housing affordability.

A recent report about vacation rentals and Airbnb outlined the following:

  • According to the Census, in 2017 Los Angeles had some 1.5 million housing units – 13,587 of those listed as vacation rentals. This represents 0.9% of the City’s total housing stock– a number that has barely budged during the last few years, even as Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms have grown.

  • In contrast, there were fewer than 4,000 full-time Airbnb rentals in LA as of 2017 – making up just 0.26% of the city’s housing stock.

  • While short term rental platforms have not substantially contributed to the growth of vacation rentals, they have changed the way the marketplace operates. Many traditional vacation homes are now likely to be integrated with platforms, so any short-term rental policy should include clear rules and guidelines for how to operate vacation rentals responsibly.

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